H-1 Visa : Working Holiday

This visa is for individuals who wish to study, travel or explore the visiting country while working temporarily to support their trip.images


You are are eligible to apply for a H-1 visa if you are the citizen of a country that has signed a working holiday agreement with the Republic of Korea.

As of May 23rd, 2014, South Korea has a working holiday visa agreement with 20 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Korea and the U.S. have a special WEST (Work, English Study, Travel) program. It is an innovative exchange program which allows university students and recent university graduates from both countries to study, participate in internships, and travel.

General Requirements

  • You must be between the ages of 18 and 30 years (inclusive) at the time of application.
  • You can not be accompanied by any dependents at any point in time during your stay in Korea.
  • You must apply for the H-1 visa in your home country and not from a third country unlike some other visas.

* In the case of Australia, Canada and Japan, the age limit is extended up to 30 as apposed to 25 on the agreement according to reciprocity.

Documents Required

  • Valid Passport
  • Recent Photograph (taken within the last 3 months)
  • Visa Application
  • Application Fee (Application fees are exempted for nationals of Japan, France, Hongkong and Chile)
  • Proof of a round trip airline ticket
  • Proof of financial support or other documents that show you have sufficient funds to support yourself (for at least 3 months)
  • Proof of student status or proof of highest academic qualifications (Reciprocity:Japan, U.S)
  • Criminal Record(Reciprocity)
  • Medical Exam (Reciprocity)
  • Health Insurance certificate
  • Travel Itinerary (travel schedule and activity plan)

*General Medical Check with no specific requirements: Austria, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Hungary, Hongkong

Basic Examination: X-ray and Additional examinations when requested by consuls: a urine and blood test: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan

    • Test for tuberculosis: U.K, Netherlands
    • Proof of good health: France

* Health insurance certificate is required for all other countries except for Australia, Japan and the U.K.

* Criminal background check is required for citizens of Italy, Israel, Portugal, Belgium, Taiwan, New Zealand, France, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands.

Maximum Length Of Stay

The working holiday visa is valid for 12 months however in the case of the United States it is valid for 18 months.

Extension Of Stay

Period of stay can be extended for a maximum of 1 year from the entry date. However, exceptions are made to the U.S. (1.5 year) and the U.K. (2 years) in accordance with respective agreements.

Addition Or Change Of Workplace

You do not have to report a change or addition of workplace.

Change Of Status

In principle, H-1 visa holders can not apply for change of status. However, with the exception of citizens from the U.K., France, Ireland and Denmark, If you meet the qualifications required for specific occupations (doctor, lawyer, professor, pilot, language instructor and others falling under E-7 Foreign National of Special Ability visa), you can apply for the change of status.

Type Of Activities Allowed On H-1

  • You are allowed to study or take a training course for a maximum of 12 months.

  • You are allowed to work for a maximum of 12 months during your stay.

  • You can engage in employment activities regardless of employment types (e.g. employment on contract, part-time jobs, etc.).

    You are entitled to undertake most types of temporary employment during your stay with the exception of certain professional jobs that are against the spirit of the WHP agreement or national laws:

      • Adult entertainment-related businesses
      • Dancer, singer, musician or acrobat
      • Requiring specific licenses or skills, such as in the field of medical practices, lawyer, professor, pilot, etc.
      • Foreign language instruction (if an individual desires to work as a foreign language instructor after their arrival in Korea under WHP, the individual will be required to change their visa status to E-2); and
      • Those who desire to take training or educational course in pursuit of an academic degree other than a Korean language training course will be required to apply for a student visa (D-2).
      • Related to journalism, religion, academic research, or instruction of engineering-related technical skills.
      • In addition individuals whose main objectives for coming to Korea are not travel, but solely to seek employment, will be ineligible to participate in WHP.

Re-Entry Permit

In December, 2010, the enforcement Regulations were revised. The Re-entry Permit Exemption is implemented now. Under the new law:

– If you are a registered foreigner and plan to return to Korea within 1 year from the departure date, you are exempted from re-entry permit

– If your period of sojourn remains less than 1 year, you are exempted from re-entry permit

for the remaining period.

However, if you need the permission due to the entry restrictions, you may submit application to an Immigration (Branch) Office free of charge.

Required Documents for a re-entry permit:

An application form

Valid Passport

Alien Registration Card

Fee (single: 30,000 KRW, multiple: 50,000 KRW)

Remember that you must also apply for an Alien Registration Card (ARC) since you will be residing in Korea for more than 3 months. You must have the alien registration card within 90 days upon your arrival in Korea.

Also, please remember that the visa is issued at the discretion of the Chief of diplomatic missions of the Korean embassy or consulate. The required documents may differ among respective embassies and additional documents may be required depending on individual circumstances.

For more information about the H-1 visa, please contact the nearest embassy for detailed information or visit the immigration website at www.hikorea.go.kr

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